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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HISTORY    AS    A    BRANCH   £>F    LITERATURE

stand in this respect in a position remarkably similar to
that of the novel; and it happens to be clear that
Macaulay in particularówho had it in mind to make a
story, and who was a fascinating narratorówas ex-
tremely conscious of this point, and even made notable
use of what it could provide in the way of artistic
opportunity. In his general descriptions he might make
the mistake of perpetually comparing the state of
England in the seventeenth century with the condition
of things that existed in the nineteenth; but as a narrator
he made great use of the element of surprise and he would
attempt to see the events of 1688 as though he were a
contemporary spectator. Indeed, it has been noted that
he " expatiated on all the preliminaries of an action till
he has awakened in us something like the excitement of
those who are watching and waiting for the event".
Before presenting his narration he would point out all
the circumstances which seemed to give pronfise that
things would take a different turn, or he would describe
the expectations that were entertained, so that these
could be contrasted with the event which actually took
place. Alternatively, he would speculate on what might
so easily have happened if one circumstance or another
had been different. The artistic necessity of the sheer
narrator, and the demands of literature as such, conspire
to promote some of the conditions for historical thinking,
which requires the adoption of this particular point of
view.

The literary historians who are here in question were
not the first to introduce imagination into the study of
history by any means, but it was part of their rdle to

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